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New Boats: Cobalt A40 & Riviera 50 Enclosed Flybridge

 

BoatRev Cobalt May14

by Doug Thompson

Sometimes the best place on a boat isn’t behind the wheel, but stretched out on a sunpad watching the world go by—and letting someone else pilot the vessel. The innovative layout and design of Cobalt Boats’ new A40 may sway more guests and even owners toward lounging rather than driving, as we discovered during our three-hour tour of the 40-foot sport yacht at the 2014 Miami International Boat Show in February.

Here’s why it’s awfully tempting to let someone else be in control: a huge aft island sunpad that has a split backrest that moves fore and aft. Move the backrest all the way aft and you’ve got a conventional front-facing lounge with a sunpad; move it all the forward and you’ve got a backrest for the sunpad, ideal for reclining in comfort. This setup is just one of many interesting features Cobalt has built into the A40, which is new for 2014. The boat we reviewed was hull No. 2, and Cobalt is in full production on the A40 and delivering boats to customers.

While relaxing and lounging is a big draw, the A40 also offers a first-class experience for the driver, utilizing Volvo Penta’s new Glass Cockpit navigation system (see Engine Room in the April 2014 issue of Southern Boating). Powered by a pair of Volvo Penta D6 diesel, 5.8-liter, 400-horsepower engines mated to stern drives with joystick control, the A40 has twin 12-inch Garmin Glass Cockpit 8212 multi-function displays mounted side by side on the dash.

 

BoatRev Riviera50 May14

by Roger McAfee

Riviera Yachts has built top-quality boats for 34 years, launching more than 5,000 to date. The Australian builder has developed a reputation for turning out tough, strong boats that love bashing out to the fishing grounds. All that toughness, however, isn’t just limited to Riviera’s boats. During the global economic meltdown that began in 2008, Riviera and its dealers in 30 countries were hit hard financially—so much so, in fact, that it sought bankruptcy protection. That protection is usually only a first step and is generally followed by the appointment of a receiver and subsequent auction of the bankrupt firm’s assets.

But Riviera’s management team did not follow the usual pattern. They chose, instead, to tough it out and effectively manage the company back to financial health. Such an approach puts a massive strain on management, creditors, dealers, suppliers, and employees—in most cases, the bankrupt company can barely function, but that’s not what happened at Riviera. In fact, the builder not only continued to build—albeit at a reduced level—it developed new models and added new features to existing models. The end result is an encouraging recovery story and led to one of the newest Riviera offerings, the 50 Enclosed Flybridge.

Having tested several Rivieras—all equipped with the traditional open flybridge—I’d expected the enclosed flybridge model would prove to be an even better boat than those I had previously bashed around in. It was.

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